50th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Sustainable Regional Growth and Development in the Creative Knowledge Economy", 19-23 August 2010, Jönköping, Sweden
The aim of this paper is to study in what respect historical legacies and creative resources have determined the settlement of multimedia companies in the Marseille metropolitan area, the third multimedia cluster after the Paris and Lyon regions. Ann-Lee Saxenian (1994) has shown the importance of regional culture and heritage in the constitution of an economic trajectory. The pre-existence of links between the media, microelectronic or photographic industries, and of an intense cultural life can support the emergence of essential know-how for the development of a multimedia sector (Sträter, 2000). Marseille is a traditional filming area: in 1895, one of first cinematographic films was shot in La Ciotat. The sunny climate and splendid landscapes made it the setting for Marcel Pagnol's films in the 1930s. However, the weak presence of the press and television media didn't facilitate the emergence of large regional production or post-production groups. Yet the presence of major schools in the technical and creative fields can have significant repercussions for the constitution of a creative class (Florida, 2002). Thus, the fact that major national art schools are located in Marseille allows for the training of young talents who are initially tempted to remain within the metropolitan area thanks to good communication infrastructures (TGV, broad-band connections) and locations for start-ups (the Belle de Mai media cluster). Moreover, technical know-how, such as microelectronics or telecommunications, involve creativity, innovation and the adaptation of multimedia firms to technological changes. But, cognitive diversity generated by a social group stimulates creative individual potential (Miliken, Bartel and Kurtzberg, 2003). This explains the choice made by public authorities (the Euroméditerranée program) to locate audiovisual and multimedia firms in the Belle de Mai media cluster, which accommodates Parisian firms in search of pleasant surroundings, free tax zones and cheap facilities more than local companies. But the national project for extending the Plaine Saint-Denis audiovisual cluster, located north of Paris, is likely to deter the settlement of firms in Marseille, because of the weakness of both the sector and the networks.